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Jack Lengyel
Title Head Coach
College Marshall
Sport Football
Born 1935
Career highlights
Overall 9-33 (Marshall only)
Coaching stats
College Football DataWarehouse
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
University of Akron (Assist.)
Heidelberg College (Assist.)
Cornell University (Assist.)
College of Wooster
Marshall University

Jack Lengyel (born 1935) is a software executive and former sports official. He is best known as having been head coach of the Marshall University Thundering Herd football team from 1971 until 1974, having taken over following the Southern Airways Flight 932 plane crash that killed nearly the entire team in 1970. He graduated from The University of Akron, where he was an assistant coach in 1959, and was a member of Lone Star Fraternity. He was an assistant coach at Heidelberg College (1961–62) and Cornell (1963–65) [1] before becoming head football and lacrosse coach (in 1968 [2]) at The College of Wooster from 1966–1970.



Lengyel was hired by Marshall athletic director Joe McMullen after head coach Rick Tolley was killed along with most of the Marshall coaches and players in the crash. When Lengyel arrived at Marshall he was forced to recruit athletes from other sports ( baseball and basketball) as well as allow a large number of walk-ons in order to rebuild the devastated football program. Although the team struggled in Lengyel's first season at the helm, it managed to win a stunning 15–13 victory over Xavier, scoring a touchdown on the final play of the game. His overall record at Marshall as the head coach was 9–33, ending when he resigned.


After leaving Marshall, Lengyel went into the private sector before returning to sports as associate director of athletics at Louisville (1978–80) and Missouri (1981–84). He then went to Fresno State as director of athletics from 1983 to 1986. He returned to University of Missouri to become their athletic director from 1986 to 1988.

In 1988, he became the Athletic Director at the United States Naval Academy, where he served for 14 years before retiring in 2001. He received the 2005 John L. Toner Award from the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame for his service at Navy. Since retiring from Navy in 2001, he has also been the interim director of athletics at Temple University, Eastern Kentucky University, and most recently University of Colorado.

Lengyel also served many years on the Board of Trustees for the Foundation of the United States Naval Academy[3]. He is currently the vice president of business development for XOS Technologies, a provider of software solutions for sports programs.

On January 12, 2008, seven members of a high school basketball team from Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada and their coach's wife were killed in a highway crash when the 15-seat van they were traveling in collided with a tractor-trailer while returning from a game in Moncton in snowy conditions. Drawing similarities between the two tragedies, on March 13, 2008, Jack Lengyel funded his own traveling expenses to New Brunswick, Canada to assist in counseling the grieving community.

Lengyel went on record with the Canadian Press stating that schools should not be transporting students in small, multi-passenger vans. The New Brunswick government announced soon after the crash that it was suspending the use of the vans.

Matthew McConaughey plays Lengyel in the film We Are Marshall, which was released on December 22, 2006.

In 2007, he joined the Board of Directors and became a partner in TaleGator Distributors L.L.C.(Detroit, Michigan) and innovative seating product for trucks. The homepage is


His family name means Polish in Hungarian.


  1. ^ The Citizen-Advertiser (Auburn, New York, "Cornell Grid Coach Believes His Team Will Be Stronger", August 29, 1963, page 16
  2. ^ Mansfield News-Journal, March 21, 1967, page 16
  3. ^ Book Jack Lengyel, inspirational We Are Marshall coach, at, accessed 12/30/2009, [1]

External links



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